The Darth Vader comic series is one of my personal favorites from the new line of Marvel published Star Wars comic books. Darth Vader #12: Shadows and Secrets Part VI is definitely a strong issue, continuing the story from the previous issues while setting up the next crossover event, Vader Down. Kieron Gillen, the writer keeps this series fresh and showing us a new side to Vader we haven’t seen before while keeping it authentic.
This issue opens up with the Imperial fleet in pursuit of Aphra for her crimes against the Empire in previous issues. Vader tells Inspector Thanoth that chasing after one petty thief is a waste of their time and resources while they have the location of the rebel group, the Plasma Devils. The Dark Lord and the inspector turn around and leaves Aphra off the hook for now.
They approach the planet, Athan 1 only to find that it rests in the voluminous gaseous atmosphere of Athan Prime. Thanoth tells the Sith Lord that they have a confirmed sighting on the Plasma Devils base. He says that getting near the base in stealth will be a challenge and they may escape. Vader commands him to wait for his signal and then bomb the westernmost tunnels, sealing them. He’ll take care of the east side. The Plasma Devils get into their X-wings and Y-wings. They hear that their western passage has been bombed. The rebels leave all unnecessary things behind and leave as fast as they can. A Y-wing bomber tries to escape only to find Darth Vader waiting outside the tunnel. The feared Sith Lord uses the force to throw his lightsaber at the bomber, causing it to crash.
It then cuts to the helmets of the Plasma Devils at the feet of General Tagge. The force sensitive twin cyborgs that Palpatine had created in secret, complain saying it wasn’t Vader’s mission. Thanoth tells the male, Morit that it was his and they can thank them later. The General is unsastified that Aphra was not brought to justice. Inspector Thanoth starts to take the blame when Vader takes responsibility. General Tagge brings up the circumstances and believes he made the right choice. The Mon Calamari, force sensitive cyborg, Karbin is asked how his mission of finding the pilot that destroyed the Death is going. He reports as unsuccessful. Thanoth thanks Vader for covering him as they walk down the corridor.
Aphra along with the killer droids are hiding in a cave. The protocol droid advises her to leave because Vader knows of this location. He says that her actions would classify as “blackmailing” the Sith Lord. The droid starts to wonder how Vader will kill her just as he walks in and catches her by surprise. She tells him that “the boy” is on Vrogas Vas. She wants to earn Vader’s trust and work for him. He finds her to be very talented, and spares her. Aphra tells him that he was in search of a Jedi Temple only to have Vader put down that rumor. If he isn’t there, Vader will kill her. It is then revealed that Karbin, the cyborg force sensitive Mon Calamari has been watching. He starts to talk to himself, saying Vader will find him on Vrogas Vas, along with him. To be continued in Vader Down #1…
Darth Vader has been consistently a great series, filled with storylines we never expected such as force sensitive cyborgs. I’m loving the character of Aphra and I think she makes a great contribution to the new cannon. Darth Vader is a very tricky character to get right, yet Gillen keeps crushing it. The penciler, Larroca, keeps doing gorgeous artwork making the issue feel like you’re watching Star Wars. I feel that these comics are too short and would benefit if they were even 5 pages longer. It has very little down time and just quickly moves right to the point. It ends on cliffhanger making me really wanting to read Vader Down now. Because of the great storyline and artwork I will give this issue a 9/10. Definitely worth it to read this issue and the rest of the series.